1975 Chesser Physiographic Map of the Earth showing Sub-Oceanic Topography

Physiographic Map of the Earth. - Main View

1975 Chesser Physiographic Map of the Earth showing Sub-Oceanic Topography


Revolutionary mapping Sub-Oceanic Topography.


Physiographic Map of the Earth.
  1975 (dated)     29.5 x 49 in (74.93 x 124.46 cm)     1 : 36000000


An impressive, large-format 1975 physiographic map of the Earth drawn by William Chesser. Although crude by comparison, Chesser's map is based on the revolutionary mapping of sub-oceanic topography by Marie Tharp and Bruce C. Heezen (credited in title), but predated the 1977 official cartographic release of their work.
A Closer Look
Displaying the world on a Mercator Projection, Chesser has devoted considerable attention to depicting the elevation of the Earth's surface, both above and below sea level. Most remarkably, peaks and valleys of ocean trenches, fractures, plateaus, plains, and other features are illustrated with great attention to detail. On land, aside from mountains, waterways are depicted, with major rivers labeled, as are large cities, capes, and deserts.

The portion of the Earth's surface at left, containing East Asia and Australia, also appears in large part at right; thus presenting the Pacific as a continuous whole. The polar regions have been attenuated, especially the South Pole, with only small portions of Antarctica evident.
This map represents the culmination of more than 30 years of collaboration between Tharp and Heezen. Their joint efforts, largely led by Tharp, focused on a meticulous sonar mapping of the ocean's floors. The present map is the fourth and final in their series - the others, published between 1957 and 1964, are more regional. In aggregation, their work led to the discovery of the Mid-Atlantic Rift and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and redefined both submarine geology and our understanding of plate tectonics. Moreover, Tharp's work was pioneering in elevating the role of women in the sciences.
Publication History and Census
This map was drawn by William L. Chesser and published in 1975 as an accompaniment to the book Exercises in Physical Geography by W. Kenneth Hamblin and James D. Howard published in 1975 by Burgess Publishing Company. It is reasonably well represented in institutional collections but is more scarce on the private market.


William Lagrand Chesser (1940 - present) is a geologist, scientific illustrator, and artist who primarily worked as an exploration geologist in the oil industry in Colorado and Texas. Born in Pensacola, Florida, he served in the U.S. Air Force and then earned a bachelor's and master's in geology at Brigham Young University. In addition to his work as a geologist, Chesser illustrated science textbooks, a series of works about the Grand Canyon, and a large 'Physiographic map of the Earth,' published in several editions in the 1970s and 1980s. More by this mapmaker...

Marie Tharp (July 30, 1920 - August 23, 2006) was a prominent American oceanographic cartographer and geologist - recognized as a pioneer in the male-dominated world of geology. Tharp was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan. She was introduced to mapmaking through her father, who was a surveyor for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She studied at the University of Ohio, earning Music and English degrees. During World War II, she earned a Masters in Geology at the University of Michigan, graduating in 1944, and later a second bachelor's in mathematics (1948). She first worked as a research assistant at Lamont Geological Laboratory in Columbia University in New York. Tharp was Bruce Charles Heezen's (1924 - 1977) assistant while he was a graduate student, and he gave her the task of drafting seafloor profiles. Her discoveries of the Mid-Atlantic Rift and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, while initially dismissed because of her gender, eventually led to a life-long collaboration with Heezen. Today, Tharp is best known for her decades long project to map the ocean floors with sonar imaging. This revolutionary work contributed to our modern understanding undersea geography, plate tectonics, and continental drift. Ironically, women at that time were unwelcome on scientific marine voyages, so while she mapped the oceans, she never personally went to sea. Her published maps include the North Atlantic (1957), South Atlantic (1961), Indian Ocean (1964), and the world (1977). She remained at Columbia University until retiring in 1983. Learn More...

Bruce Charles Heezen (April 11, 1924 - June 21, 1977) was an American geologist active at New York's Columbia University. Heezen was born in Viton, Iowa. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 1947 and went on to an MA (1952) and PhD (1957) at Columbia University. There he met the pioneering female geologist, Marie Tharp (1920 - 2006), with whom he collaborated to map the ocean's floors for some 30 years. Tharp was Heezen's assistant while he was a graduate student. When she showed Heezen that her plotting of the North Atlantic revealed a rift valley, Heezen dismissed it as 'girl talk'. She persisted and they eventually discovered that not only was there a North Atlantic rift valley, but a mountain range with a central valley that spanned the earth. Heezen died of a heart attack in 1977 while aboard the NR-1 submarine studying the Mid-Atlantic Ridge near Iceland. Learn More...


Very good. Light wear along fold lines.


OCLC 5443249.